Proverbs 18d

Crushed In Spirit.

“The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?” – Proverbs 18:14 NLT

We’ve all been amazed to watch other individuals endure unimaginable pain and suffering as a result of a debilitating disease or injury. We’ve observed them as they somehow managed to smile and maintain their composure even as they were going through seemingly unendurable tragedy. We wondered how they could do it. We questioned where they got the strength to go through so much and not give in to defeat. This verse tells us that the human spirit is a powerful resource in times of pain. It is life-sustaining and energy-giving, providing much-needed stamina and stability even in the face of what appears to be insurmountable circumstances. The very word “spirit” in the Hebrew language means “life or breath.” It is the essence of who we are as human beings. At creation, God “breathed” into man his life or spirit. It is God-given and therefore powerful. Our spirit is the very thing that sustains us through all of life.

But what happens when our spirit gets crushed? What do we do when the very thing that sustains us becomes broken and incapable of enduring? It can and does happen, and when it does, we find ourselves in a dangerous place, completely susceptible to the attacks of the enemy and open to his lies: “You are not loved!” “Nobody cares about you!” “Life is not worth living!” “God has abandoned you!” “Things are just going to get worse!” “Just give up!”

It is at those times that we must recognize that our spirits, because they are God-given, must also be God-sustained. We must look to Him for help and healing. As we read in Proverbs 17:22, “a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Without a healthy, whole spirit, we begin to find that our entire life, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, begins to suffer. We can easily lose our determination to endure, and ultimately, our will to live. In the Old Testament story of Job, he found himself in a place where he had lost everything – his health, his wealth and all of his children. But he somehow was able to endure, because his spirit sustained him. He was able to look at his dire circumstances and see God in the middle of them. He told his wife, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10 NLT). But there came a time, thanks to the incessant “counsel” of his friends, that Job began to lose heart. His spirit was slowly crushed under the staggering weight of their accusations of guilt. He began to lose hope and the will to live. He took his eyes off of the goodness of God and his spirit began to shrivel up inside of him.

It’s interesting that in His Sermon on the Mount, the very first thing Jesus said was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV). The poor in spirit are those who recognize the deficiencies of their hearts and turn to God for help. God came to heal our spirits and restore our souls. Without Him and without the death of Christ on the cross, our spirits were crushed, lifeless and incapable of sustaining us. But the kingdom of God was designed for just such people. The death of Christ was intended to deliver those whose spirits were crushed and dead. And He still gives life to our spirits today. When we feel down, defeated, and disheartened because of the events of life, we can turn to Him. God, who breathed life in us at creation, can breathe life into us spiritually. He can and will restore and revive us. Like Job, we will be able to say, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5 NLT). We will experience the life-giving, spirit-sustaining power of God first-hand and be able to say, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you” (Job 42:2 NLT).

Father, I find myself in a place where my spirit is crushed and broken. There is a sadness that threatens to overwhelm me, but I know I can come to you in my brokenness and receive hope and healing. You are my sustainer and strength. Help me keep my eyes focused on you and not my circumstances. Replace my sadness with joy and my despair with delight. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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